Are you a responsible dog owner?
Many dog parents think they are doing the right thing for their dog, from feeding the right pet food to correct grooming. September 16th marks Responsible Dog Ownership Day, hosted by the AKC, which helps promote tips on the responsibility of pet parents everywhere. Below are a few tips for being a responsible dog owner.
Feed healthy food: With all the pet foods on the market today, it’s hard to know which ones are good for your pet. But, feeding your dog a well-balanced diet full of protein and vitamins is the way to go. The first ingredient in your dog’s food should be a real meat protein like chicken, beef, a named fish (such as salmon or trout) or turkey. Try to steer away from too many meat meals and fillers.
Provide clean water: It’s hard to remember to change your pet’s water bowl sometimes. But a dirty water bowl can hold harmful bacteria and can make your dog sick. Don’t let bacteria and debris make your pet sick; try using a pet drinking fountain that circulates water, always keeping it fresh and clean. Also, try a water additive that helps get rid of bacteria.
Use a leash: Letting your pup run free may feel like a great idea, but unless you are at a dog park, it really isn’t. Keeping your dog on a leash not only keeps him or her from running away or getting hurt, it also protects others. No matter how friendly your pet is, you never know how he or she may react to other people. So when outside, always leash your dog.
Keep a regular grooming schedule: Keeping your dog’s coat clean, brushed and healthy is important to good overall health. Regular grooming prevents excessive shedding and matting. Shampoo and conditioner specially formulated for pets will help prevent skin problems. Brush your dog a few times a week for a healthier coat and enjoy a few extra minutes of bonding time, too!
Visit your vet regularly: Taking your dog for a yearly vet visit is the key to having a healthy, happy dog and it’s one of the best things you can do to make sure you are a responsible dog owner. Many serious issues that affect pets can have little or no symptoms, so keeping up with your pet’s vet appointments can help catch those issues sooner.
Pick-up after your pooch: Whether you’re on a long walk, or you’re taking your dog outside to do his or her business, always pick up your dog’s waste. Even though it is not the best of chores, it’s not nice to leave an unwanted “present” for your neighbor. Remember to dispose of your dog’s waste properly and try using biodegradable waste bags that don’t harm the environment.
Make time for training: Dogs that are not properly trained are often relinquished to shelters for behavioral problems that frustrated pet parents find too difficult to deal with. Training your dog helps reduce stress in the home, makes outdoor play safer and ensures that your pet will be a welcome member of your community. Likewise, socializing your dog via exposure to new places, people, and other pets builds confidence and reduces situational anxiety. Dogs require proper amounts of exercise and social activity to stay healthy and happy.
Provide a form of identification: It’s important to make sure your dog has up-to-date identification at all times, either using collar tags, tattoo or microchip ID.
Whether you are a new pet parent or your dog has been part of your family for a while, give yourself a pat on the back if you abide by all these responsible dog owner tips!